2 Days in Chopta – Explore the Unspoiled Land of Uttrakhand
Welcomed by a Himalayan background, serene lakes, and lush green forests, Uttrakhand is unmistakably nature’s paradise. Visited by tourists all the year round, there are still some unexplored parts of this divine land that you can visit for a truly enthralling experience.Chopta is one of the lesser explored hill stations of Uttrakhand. It serves as a base camp for treks to Tunganath Temple and Chandrashila peak, and Deoria Tal. And that’s not the end of it, a few days in Chopta is an entirely new and different experience. Life in Chopta is like a stand-still, with very little access to the digital world and basic necessities of life, like electricity and warm water.
How to reach Chopta?Depending on where you are coming from, you can either take a direct cab to the village or break it down in different chunks of travel. Use this link to book your self-driving car You can take a flight to Dehradun which is around 225 km from Chopta. From there you can either take a taxi or a bus to Chopta. Another option is to take a train to Rishikesh or Haridwar and then again from there take a taxi or bus to Chopta.
Where to stay in Chopta?We had decided to camp at “Moksha” a little ahead of the Chopta city center. But due to heavy snowfall in the area, the roads beyond the city center were blocked with a series of vehicles stuck in the snow. There was no way we could get any further, so we decided to get down in the market and looked for accommodation nearby. Vehicles stuck in snow Pro Tip: There are many guest houses in the city center if you are not very particular about where you want to stay. We stayed at Baba Holiday Home which was a very minimalistic guest house. On the top left – the white and blue building is Baba Holiday Home
The best part about staying in ChoptaThe is no electricity in the entire village, and everything works using the solar energy consumed during the day. So we literally spent the night in the dark with dead phones and freezing cold water flowing in bathrooms. It was an amazingly crazy experience living a life away from our comfort zones and without any unnecessary luxuries. PS: We paid Rs 60 for a single bucket of warm water every night for bathing.
Things to do in Chopta
Tunganath TrekThis trek to the highest Garhwal Shiva temple gives the most spectacular views of the Himalayan peaks. While one will admire the gorgeous view of snow reflecting the sun rays in the morning, but the setting sun looks all the more stunning with a tinted orange sky. It is a must-do trek for solace seekers, nature lovers, and adventurers alike.
My ExperienceThe 3 km hike to Tunganath temple from Chopta, otherwise easy, gets a little trickier in snowy winters. We kept a constant steady pace climbing up, and it took us almost 4 hours to reach the top. It was just so amazing seeing an infinite sheet of white snow reflecting the sharp sun rays. As we reached the top, we were joined by the oh so furry mountain dogs, and they looked the cutest with their bright shiny eyes. And once we were there, entering the temple, it was one of the most beautiful feelings. Everything that we had just passed by seemed so tiny in front of the panoramic Himalayan range. Each step that we took to reach the top seemed worth for! Climbing up was definitely tiring and exhausting, but getting down was even more difficult. The sun was bright and sharp the whole day because of which the snow had started melting. We had to be more careful now about not stepping on the ice. After reaching down, we quickly freshened up and went to the closest Dhabba for dinner. Warming ourselves with the flames of the burning stove was one of the coziest feelings at the point. Our hands and feet were cold and soar, and a little warmth seemed heaven.
Deoria TalWhile you are in Chopta, you cannot miss this magical piece of land. Just a 45-minute drive from the town and a convenient 2-hour hike from the Sari Village is Deoria Tal. Surrounded by snow-clad mountains, protected by green meadows and forests, lies this beautiful lake reflecting the colors of the sky and the trees. No picture, no words can do justice to the magic of this place. The kind of beauty that leaves you spellbound and that wants you to keep staring at it, but you still can’t get enough of it, that is what Deoria Tal did to me. The hike is pretty simple especially since there was no snow and it was a gradual steep. We spent good 4 hours relaxing at the Tal before we finally half-heartedly decided to descend back.
Trekking through snow to Tunganath temple was one of a kind experience. Excited and scary, cold and warm at the same time. Constantly slipping on icy rocks, helping one another to reach the bottom before it gets dark or before you lose hope of returning in one piece!
All that nauseatic feeling driving through mountains is worth for when you have the fascinating views like the one from Tunganath Temple and of Deoria Tal.